emeraldembers: (Default)
Just been watching Amazing Grace, which while historically inaccurate (for starters, Benedict Cumberbatch and Ioan Gruffudd play British politicians, and I'm pretty certain there are laws against people that attractive entering our political system) was really quite an enjoyable watch for a Sunday afternoon.

More than anything though, I really liked some of the scenes about faith that weren't in any explicit way about the Bible, but instead about love for the simpler things in life, love for things like the intricacy of spiders' webs and dandelions. I always remember at university walking through a park with a friend from abroad and telling her the names of the plants and birds I knew, and her being amused whenever I wasn't sure, all things considered this is the country I've always lived in.

I think it's sometimes very easy to get wrapped up in spectacle to a point where it's the only thing you truly enjoy. I'll admit, I'm a sucker for it - throw in an explosion or two, a few pretty guys and girls, and you've instantly perked up my interest in a movie. However, I think it's good once in a while to just step back and not smell the roses - roses are beautiful, yes, but we usually see them in shop windows, not on bushes in their natural state, caterpillar-nibbled, greenfly-infested, browning at the edges and utterly beautiful despite that - and instead look at the really simple everyday things we take for granted. Clover, daisies, dandelions, and the very grass itself; I think there's beauty everywhere we look and we sometimes forget that 'everywhere we look' happens to include the things around us.

Faith and inspiration are curious things and I wouldn't expect everyone to experience them in the same way; I'm frequently forgetful and can sometimes go days or even weeks without prayer or meditation, even if I'm particularly thankful or particularly upset about a change or an event in my life. The one constant is that every so often I do remember, and when I do, it's always a welcome relief, like getting a call from a close friend or family member, or like getting a weight taken off your shoulders you didn't even realise was there.

Faith's a curious thing for me in that I understand the science and logic behind the majority of arguments against it. I think perhaps in my case it helps that my faith doesn't particularly guide my life - I've felt as long as I remember that there was something more than what we see to life, but at the same time, I always felt that love was more important than anything else. Faith supports rather than guides how I live, for the most part.

I also think one of the driving forces in my belief in both science and faith is simply that our understanding of the universe is largely drawn from one point - the big bang theory - where we currently assume there was a mass, said mass exploded, and the universe is still forming from the results of that explosion. It's that mass that is the most curious thing of all; where did it come from, and why did it explode in such a way that our almost statistically impossible existence was assured?

I don't believe that the big bang theory in any way 'proves' that there are deities or greater powers out there, but I do believe it points out that there is a reason why people constantly ask "Why are we here?" - that reason being, no matter how you look at it, via science or religion, the "How are we here?" answers are extraodinary.

The universe is a weird, wonderful, incredibly unlikely thing, and sometimes it likes to give you a gentle nudge - or a firm kick in the pants - to remind you of that. Today I appreciate the reminder, and I think I'll take a walk instead of getting the bus so I can look at all those little things I forget to appreciate when I'm distracted.

Some would argue the little things are distracting in and of themselves, but I beg to differ. I think they could be a key in answering the question of "Why", and maybe I'll never know the answer while I'm alive, but I'm happy to keep guessing.
emeraldembers: (Default)
Pretty much all of you know that I am, in my own funny little way, a Christian. I talk about it from time to time but I'm not generally a WOAH HEY WOO YEAH IN YOUR FACE WOOOOOO Christian for a few reasons; first, I think to do so would be a bit dickish, and I don't like being dickish. Second, I write blasphemous porn - I don't really get to claim the moral high ground. Third, I'm a firm believer in "Preach the Gospel at all times and when necessary use words" because St Francis of Assisi rocked.

I don't particularly believe we own this holiday - with Yule and Hanukkah and about fifty other holidays coinciding with midwinter, and with most anyone knowing full well that Jesus wouldn't have actually been born at this time of year, it'd be outright daft to claim ownership. Claiming ownership of a midwinter festival is about as silly as claiming ownership of all beer, or ownership of particularly nice sunsets. And in all fairness, modern Christmas is more a combination of all the best bits from the various holidays - getting together with people you love (or are at least supposed to love), putting up a tree and decorations, dancing and getting absolutely bungalowed at parties, kissing under mistletoe, hanging up stockings, exchanging cards and presents and messages of love and peace and goodwill.

Christmas, I will admit, I love just as much religiously as I do secularly. Strimming out the extras - the virgin birth borrowed from one religion, the journey borrowed to fit better with certain prophecies etc - down to the basics, Christmas as a religious holiday is basically celebrating the idea that some few thousand years ago a baby was born who would later grow up to say that actually, God loves everyone, yes, even you, that one over there in the corner going >:(. That's the religious side of it for me, and I love that it's one of the few Christian holidays that is focused on hope and not on "And then this guy/girl suffered for you/God/God and you. Suffered like woah. Cherish your Guiiiiiilt". This is a holiday that basically has a spirit of "Things are pretty okay! Anyone for scrabble later?".

Secularly, I love presents. I love receiving them, I love giving them, I love that I get to spend today wearing brand new socks (and I am a firm believer there are few better simple pleasures than new socks, even if some people think they're a silly gift). I love making other people happy, too; even if they don't know it was me who did it. And I love it when people make each other happy, even if they probably aren't aware that they're doing so; when you overhear a hilarious conversation on the train, or you spot an old couple holding hands, or you see someone just generally being decent to someone else. It makes you feel a little bit warmer, a little bit fuzzier, and a little bit lighter.

I love the Christmas holidays because they're just about the one time of year in the western world where everyone tries to love everyone else, by and large. And Charles Dickens, that great advocate of all things Christmassy, did say that no one is useless in this world who lightens the burden of it to anyone else. As much as it's "just a holiday", and it's ridiculously over-commercialised, there's still a fundamental search for joy, a fundamental desire for everyone to be happier and more at peace running underneath all the silliness, and that's what I celebrate Christmas for.

Well. That and the free socks.
emeraldembers: (Default)
It's been a good long while since it last happened, but today I can quite honestly, quite truthfully say that right now I am feeling completely and utterly content. You know when you have one of those moments when you just feel - when you feel as if you honestly wouldn't mind if you just died there and then? Because for a moment you don't miss anything or regret anything or - it's not often it happens but I'm going to enjoy it for however long it lasts. Might only be a few hours but it's a really lovely sensation; as if all my brain chemistry is suddenly just right for a moment.

Cut for a little ramble about faith; got a bit carried away :) )
emeraldembers: (Default)
I don't think this meme could have been much more perfectly timed for me because I've been (except for a break to watch Supernatural) largely rather miserable this week, and I've rarely wanted more to pause and just take a step back and look at something like this.

I've rewritten this post numerous times now to try and nail this down, and it's not really working, so I'm going to just type this as it comes regardless of the mess.

What gives me hope; srs bznss! )
emeraldembers: (swoon (SGA))
In a surprisingly literal sense.

Been on the verge of a nervous breakdown for over a week because of issues irl, spend what, three, five minutes maybe praying last night for a break, and in a whirl everything clicks into place, I scrawl out an entire page in my notepad of things I can do to make everything a little easier, and I already feel ten tonnes better. My new-new-boss at work now knows how stressed I've been and is doing everything in her power to help out, I've taken a weight off my mind by passing several repeat calls onto complaints rather than dealing with them myself any longer, and I've made a to-do list of things that'll cheer me up over the coming months, and just... yeah.

For the first time in a couple of weeks I'm not using the happy moments with my friends as a crutch for survival, I'm using them as something to look forward to, and work feels like work rather than like something to dread with every inch of my being.

Thanks big dude in the sky <3. I owe you one.

:D

Apr. 4th, 2009 10:05 pm
emeraldembers: (Default)
I love you!

Seriously though :), although the article only suggests saying "I love you" and doesn't require any other thought, I want to give it some. When I was growing up and new to LJ I used to go off on one quite a lot about my adoration of the people in my life; sometimes in a funny way, sometimes in a weepy way, sometimes in an over the top soppy way, and always in an inevitably cringeworthy way because, well, I was a kid, I was hormonal, and I was head over heels in love with my friends and not always especially coherent or eloquent about it all. Not that I'm much better now.

Anyway, yes.

With roughly five exceptions, my flist is a fannish thing now where I don't actually interact with anyone from it in real life. Some of you I've known for years, some since last week, some on/off as you've left LJ and come back and left it again and come back again.

I'm not going to go too deeply into it, but the fact is I was raised in a Christian household and continue to be a Christian to this day. And while I certainly don't believe Christians have dibs on love or any special insight into it, the way I was raised did shape my life so that the entirety of my moral structure is based around love, or how I perceive it.

I think that love - real love - is that gut instinct that makes you want to do good, and to be good. The gut instinct that lets you know it's wrong to hurt someone, wrong to steal; that makes you feel that sick twist in the pit of your stomach when you know you did something to upset someone needlessly. The gut instinct that makes you happy when the people you love are happy; that makes you feel warm when you've done something good for someone.

Love is the invisible cuddle you feel when you've given a stranger tissues and a shoulder to cry on.

By that logic, loving someone is doing or wanting to do things for the people around you that give you that same invisible cuddle. It's wanting to be there for people and to do things that make them happy, even if that thing is as silly as teasing them IN ALL CAPS or sighing dramatically alongside them at how gorgeous a character is or writing them porn for no real reason other than that you know they'll enjoy it.

And that being said, I can now also say that I love you, the daft, wonderful, epic lot of you, and rest comfortably assured that I mean it, and I wouldn't have it any other way.

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